Joab Scolds David
1People told Joab, “Look, the king is sad and crying because of Absalom.” 2David’s army had won the battle that day. But it became a very sad day for all the people, because they heard that the king was very sad for his son. 3The people came into the city quietly that day. They were like an army that had been defeated in battle and had run away. 4The king covered his face and cried loudly, “My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”
5Joab went into the king’s house and said, “Today you have shamed all your men. They saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters, wives, and slave women. 6You have shamed them because you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you. Today you have made it clear that your commanders and men mean nothing to you. What if Absalom had lived and all of us were dead? I can see you would be pleased. 7Now go out and encourage your servants. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, no man will be left with you by tonight! That will be worse than all the troubles you have had from your youth until today.”
8So the king went to the city gate. When the news spread that the king was at the gate, everyone came to see him.
David Goes Back to Jerusalem
All the Israelites who had followed Absalom had run away to their homes. 9People in all the tribes of Israel began to argue, saying, “The king saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies, but he left the country because of Absalom. 10We appointed Absalom to rule us, but now he has died in battle. We should make David the king again.”
11King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, that said, “Speak to the elders of Judah. Say, ‘Even in my house I have heard what all the Israelites are saying. So why are you the last tribe to bring the king back to his palace? 12You are my brothers, my own family. Why are you the last tribe to bring back the king?’ 13And say to Amasa, ‘You are part of my own family. May God punish me terribly if I don’t make you commander of the army in Joab’s place!’ ”
14David touched the hearts of all the people of Judah at once. They sent a message to the king that said, “Return with all your men.” 15Then the king returned as far as the Jordan River. The men of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and to bring him across the Jordan.
16Shimei son of Gera, a Benjaminite who lived in Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17With Shimei came a thousand Benjaminites. Ziba, the servant from Saul’s family, also came, bringing his fifteen sons and twenty servants with him. They all hurried to the Jordan River to meet the king. 18The people went across the Jordan to help bring the king’s family back to Judah and to do whatever the king wanted. As the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to him and bowed facedown on the ground in front of the king. 19He said to the king, “My master, don’t hold me guilty. Don’t remember the wrong I did when you left Jerusalem! Don’t hold it against me. 20I know I have sinned. That is why I am the first person from Joseph’s family to come down and meet you today, my master and king!”
21But Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die because he cursed you, the Lord’s appointed king!”
22David said, “This does not concern you, sons of Zeruiah! Today you’re against me! No one will be put to death in Israel today. Today I know I am king over Israel!” 23Then the king promised Shimei, “You won’t die.”
24Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet King David. Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, cut his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king had left Jerusalem until he returned safely. 25When Mephibosheth came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Mephibosheth, why didn’t you go with me?”
26He answered, “My master, my servant Ziba tricked me! I said to Ziba, ‘I am crippled, so saddle a donkey. Then I will ride it so I can go with the king.’ 27But he lied about me to you. You, my master and king, are like an angel from God. Do what you think is good. 28You could have killed all my grandfather’s family. Instead, you put me with those people who eat at your own table. So I don’t have a right to ask anything more from the king!”
29The king said to him, “Don’t say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will divide the land.”
30Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let Ziba take all the land now that my master the king has arrived safely home.”
31Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan River with the king. 32Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He had taken care of the king when David was staying at Mahanaim, because Barzillai was a very rich man. 33David said to Barzillai, “Cross the river with me. Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you.”
34But Barzillai answered the king, “Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35I am eighty years old! I am too old to taste what I eat or drink. I am too old to hear the voices of men and women singers. Why should you be bothered with me? 36I am not worthy of a reward from you, but I will cross the Jordan River with you. 37Then let me go back so I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and mother. But here is Kimham, your servant. Let him go with you, my master and king. Do with him whatever you want.”
38The king answered, “Kimham will go with me. I will do for him anything you wish, and I will do anything for you that you wish.” 39The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai returned home, and the king and all the people crossed the Jordan.
40When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham went with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel led David across the river.
41Soon all the Israelites came to the king and said to him, “Why did our relatives, the people of Judah, steal you away? Why did they bring you and your family across the Jordan River with your men?”
42All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “We did this because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry about it? We have not eaten food at the king’s expense or taken anything for ourselves!”
43The Israelites answered the people of Judah, “We have ten tribes in the kingdom, so we have more right to David than you do! But you ignored us! We were the first ones to talk about bringing our king back!”
But the people of Judah spoke even more unkindly than the people of Israel.